How To Celebrate Eid Al-Fitr

You’ve denied yourself all month and you’re ready to celebrate! The three-day holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, and Muslims around the world gather with friends and family to thank God for his blessings and fill those

Instructions

  • TIP: If you’ve never prayed the Eid prayer before, just follow everyone else. It only lasts a few minutes.
  • Step 1: Listen carefully to the _khutbah_, or sermon, given by the imam, or prayer leader, then follow behind him as he offers the Eid prayer.
  • Step 2: Before performing the Eid prayers, offer _zakat al-fitr_, or the special charity for Eid, which is worth about US$10. If you are praying with others, a collection box will usually be passed around for your convenience.
  • Step 3: After the prayers, join with family and friends to eat and share presents with one another. Malaysians enjoy lemang, rice with coconut milk cooked in bamboo, while Egyptians go cuckoo for kahk, cookies dusted with powdered sugar. Don’t forget the children, who love being showered with gifts, candy, and even money on this special day.
  • TIP: For those in countries where Muslims are a small minority and the holiday isn’t widely celebrated, it sometimes takes extra effort to get in the festive spirit. Decorate your house with lights or throw an Eid party to make the day feel more special.
  • FACT: In some South Asian Muslim cultures, the night before the first day of Eid is known as _chaand raat_, or “night of the moon,” when women and girls decorate their hands and feet with henna.
  • Step 4: Some Muslims return to work after the first day of Eid, but others take the entire three days off. Take as much time as you can. After a month of fasting, you’ve earned it!
  • Step 5: On the way to the place for prayer, join with others in making _takbeer_, or praising God, saying: “Allahu akbar, allahu akbar, la illaha illallah. Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillah lil’hamd.” This means: “God is the greatest, God is the greatest, there is no God but God. God is the greatest, God is the greatest, and to Him belongs all praise.”
  • TIP: It’s hard to be overdressed, so don’t be afraid to pull out all the sartorial stops. At Eid gatherings, you will see ethnic costumes and all types of finery, particularly among women.
  • Step 6: Congratulate friends and family on the arrival of Eid. It’s common to say “Eid Mubarak,” which means, “Have a blessed Eid,” or “Happy Eid.”
  • TIP: If you’re taking off a day from school or work and you need to give advance notice, figure out in advance which day you will celebrate Eid.
  • Step 7: Find out when the crescent moon has been sighted and Eid al-Fitr has officially begun. Because the lunar Muslim calendar does not line up with the solar Gregorian calendar, this date changes from year to year. And since there are different ways of recognizing the beginning of Eid, Muslims around the world do not always celebrate on the same day.
  • Step 8: Find out where your local community will be holding Eid al-Fitr prayers, which, though not required, are highly recommended.
  • TIP: Eid prayers aren’t usually held at a mosque but in some larger public space, like a convention center, to accommodate the crowds.
  • Step 9: On the morning of Eid, dress in your best clothes. Many people buy new outfits for the holiday.
  • Step 10: Eat something for breakfast, as the Prophet Muhammad did, to symbolize that fasting is finished.
  • Step 11: Fast for the month of Ramadan according to Muslim guidelines.

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